Required Reading

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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock

A post World War two beginning extending to the 1960’s, this story is an extraordinary characterization of Appalachian poverty.  

Growing up in a steel town and teaching in a tiny impoverished coal town in Pennsylvania gave me the background to find the characters in this book believable.   As a college student, drifting down to West Virginia I drank n some pretty despicable places.   None were quite as despicable as described in the book.    The scenery was familiar as was the attitudes.  

The acceptance of fate by Arvin and his sordid childhood was sobering.   Carl and Sandy were too reminiscent of some of the horror flicks of the 60’s.    The corruption of local law enforcement was something that was accepted in some of the more rural communities as part of the job.   (Hmm, I guess not just rural communities.)

This is not a book for the faint of heart.   There is behavior here that turns the stomach and curdles the soul.   It was not a pleasant book to read but compelling to read as watching a train wreck.  

I recommend the book for those with strong stomachs and who can handle violent behavior. 

Body of  work of Donald Ray Pollock

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